Why it really matters to have a well-fitting coat for your dachshund
The unusual shape and proportions of a dachshund mean, as most dachshund owners will eventually discover, that if you want to buy them a raincoat or insulated winter coat, buying something off-the-peg for a generalised dog breed and made in standardised sizes may not be successful. Read on for the solution …
It’s not unusual for clients to say to us that they’ve come to Barkmatic because they’ve tried without success to get a coat that fits their dachshund. Dachshunds famously have long backs and short legs. The dachshund is an ‘exaggerated’ breed; the genes for dwarfism cause the breed’s characteristic short legs. There’s no denying that dachshunds (or teckels, doxies, or sausage dogs) have an unusual shape, a shape that makes adults laugh and small children point and smile. But finding a well-fitting dog coat? That’s not always such fun.
We discovered this the hard way. When we first had Sunny, we were keen to get him something waterproof to wear, in the hope that if he felt dry and warm it might be easier to walk him in rainy London. On the basis of recommendations from online dachshund owners/influencers, who swore by their favourite dachshund-suitable coats, we ordered from a couple of US and Canada based brands. Mea culpa. Eight years later we know better and wouldn’t pay attention to a paid endorsement, but the early days of influencers things were not so clear. None of the coats fitted, at all.
Why does it matter about the fit?
A good fit for your dachshund’s coat is not just about the look of the coat (too big, too short, too loose). If a coat doesn’t allow a dog to move comfortably, to run and jump, or move without getting short legs trapped in sleeves or armholes, then she is not being allowed to walk naturally and just be a dog. Sometimes dogs simply refuse to move in an ill-fitting coat. Dogs that get legs caught in sleeves, or too-large coats, can panic. It’s a welfare issue, and it’s common sense.
Getting a good fit for a dachshund coat is all about proportions. As an exaggerated breed, the chest of a dachshund is disproportionately large, the back disproportionately long, and the legs are disproportionately short. Other breeds such as greyhounds, the Spanish galgos, and other sighthounds are also exaggerated breeds, and need different coats too. If you buy an off-the-peg dog coat to fit the length of your dachshund’s back, the body depth will be too long for the size of her torso and the coat will fit loosely around her body, and because of her short legs will likely drag on the floor. The looseness around the legs means that walking becomes difficult for your dachshund, her feet can get caught in the leg openings.
Not all dachshunds are in proportion
There are some wonderful dog coats designed for dachshunds, usually by dachshund owners. But nearly all of them use some kind of standard size system, usually based on the length of the back. Again, we have never had any luck with these coats, even our Sunny with his Kennel Club pedigree who is as breed-standard as they come. The coats we love would never fit either of our two dachshunds. As we now understand, after seven years of making bespoke dachshund coats, even pedigree dachshunds can be ‘too long’, or very slim, or overweight, or perhaps not quite 100% dachshund. There’s as much variation in dachshund form as there is in human form. And we come back to the point that a poor fit for your dachshund coat can lead to an uncomfortable anxious dog, when all you’re trying to do is keep them warm and dry.
Our philosophy at Barkmatic, right from the start, has been to make coats to fit the dog, not the other way round. We draft a unique pattern for each dachshund client. For our returning clients (we have a lot) we ask for new measurements to allow for maturity or ageing, or change of lifestyle. We need just a few simple measurements (neck, chest, back, waist) to do this, and the whole process is done online. Our dachshund coats hare designed to last, using high-quality technical fabrics or wool (the original technical fabric!). We complement our range of coats with accessories like hand-knitted neckwarmers, biothane collars and leads, and our wonderful dachshund snuggle sack.
If you want a really well made, really well-fitting coat for your dachshund, then we'd love to make one for you.
The Barkmatic team